By Vijay Darda | 29-03-2021
It’s neither Aghadi’s nor BJP’s victory in the aftermath of the Vaze case, it’s Maharashtra that stands disgraced
Diversity of viewpoints is a natural process in a democracy and it is also essential for a healthy democracy, but the spectacle of low politics in Maharashtra has hurt my feelings deeply. Whatever is going on these days is extremely mortifying. Politics apart, everyone who loves Maharashtra is feeling hurt. In this entire case, neither the Aghadi government nor BJP has won. But Maharashtra stands disgraced for sure. The Vaze case has besmirched the administrative credibility of Maharashtra.
We proudly say Maharashtra is the best state! There is a long list of our leaders who worked day and night to take Maharashtra to the status of primacy in every field. They are the ones who have groomed this state with their hard work and foresight. They planted a sapling and saw its transformation into a rich, prosperous tree under which people from all over the country seek shelter. Yashwantrao Chavan had decided to adopt a system of governance based on the values of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and accordingly, the governance system of the state progressed. Marotrao Kannamwar, Vasantrao Naik, Vasantdada Patil, Pratibhatai Patil, Shankararao Chavan, Shripad Amrit Dange, Balasaheb Thackeray, Jawaharlal Darda, Sharad Pawar, Keshavrao Dhondge, Ganpatrao Deshmukh, Rambhau Mhalgi, Dhananjayrao Gadgil, Punjabrao Deshmukh, Ram Naik, Ram Kapse, Uttamrao Patil, Bapusaheb Kaldate, N D Patil and many other leaders have made their invaluable contribution to the progress and prosperity of the state. Everyone had their own ideology and their political beliefs, but everyone had a vision – the development of Maharashtra and the prosperity of the common man. Due to the dedication of these leaders, our Maharashtra today is a leader in everything right from agriculture to industry.
There has always been a tradition of working together in Maharashtra. That is why the state has witnessed the problem of political instability very rarely. Therefore, the state did not face the consequences of ‘Aaya Ram Gaya Ram’ political culture. Even when there was no anti-defection law, we still had political peace. The result of this stability was that many such schemes were started in Maharashtra which the country later adopted. Education, Cooperation, Banking, Green Revolution, Employment Guarantee Scheme, Conflict-Free Village, Clean Village Campaign are the gifts of Maharashtra. Previously, there was a lot of cooperation and coordination between politicians and officials. Good officers were appreciated and while pesky ones were shown their place. This strong tradition of creation of superior officers in Maharashtra gave credibility to the administration here. Even today, the officers of Maharashtra are seen with respect all over the country. Even when a freshly minted IPS or IAS officer passes out, his first priority is to join the Maharashtra cadre.
I remember that my hometown Yavatmal was the centre of political power for a long time. Vasantrao Naik, Sudhakarrao Naik and my Babuji Jawaharlal Darda stayed at the centre of power, while on the other hand, there were opposition heavyweights like Jambuwantrao Dhote. Ordinarily, officers try to avoid posting at the place dominated by heavyweight leaders because they fear political pressure, but contrary to that, every IAS or IPS officer sought to be posted in Yavatmal. So, this is the tradition of Maharashtra. There was a famine in Maharashtra in 1972. While addressing a public meeting in Pune, Vasantrao Naik had spoken of his resolve to transform Maharashtra in two years. “If Maharashtra does not make itself self-sufficient in the matter of food grains, then hang me here!,” he had thundered. In order to translate his resolution into reality, the authorities had dedicated themselves to making Maharashtra food-sufficient. There was a Green Revolution in Maharashtra.
Even today, most of the officers are dedicated and disciplined, but a gruesome aspect is also coming out. Earlier, we used to hear about states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that IAS, IPS officers work there as the pawns of politics in the name of caste and religion. We also used to hear that prime posts in those states were auctioned. But today, the question that arises is whether a gang-like situation has emerged even in Maharashtra? Only time will tell us, but questions keep popping up as to how can an officer become so arrogant with power and not fear law at all? It is seen for the first time that an officer has put the government in the dock. The main issue in this whole case is, who parked the vehicle packed with gelatin sticks near Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilia? Why was it kept there and on whose instruction? Who was its owner and what was the motive? Who murdered Mansukh Hiren? Many questions are still unanswered! May these questions not get lost!
Ripping off the veil of melodrama politics, when I go beyond allegations and counter-allegations and see conspiracies taking shape, my mind gets distracted. Politics is using officials for furthering their interests and officials are using politicians for their own good. Now the administrative set-up has become a gangland. Like the gang, there have been groups in the police force and in the same way, there have been coteries in the IAS which was once considered the steel frame of Indian bureaucracy. A good posting is given to the one who professes loyalty to the ruling party. Previously, the officials never got scared irrespective of which government was in power. We have shining examples of Julio Ribeiro and Sarabdeep Singh Virk who were deputed out of Maharashtra and brought the country out of the crisis.
Unfortunately, a campaign is going on today to run down each other! Politics has been surrounded by the black shadow of politics? There are many such questions and the politics will have to provide answers to them all. The leaders will have to enhance their moral stature so much that they can stop the administrative staff from going berserk and breaking the law. If the mutual recriminations of politicians do not end, the situation will get worse, triggering off a series of embarrassing episodes.
So beware, sir!
It’s time to mend ways!